Tinker V Des Moines


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  • In December 1965, students in Des Moines held a meeting in Christopher Eckhardt’s house to plan a way to show their support for a truce in the Vietnam War. They wore black headbands on their arms throughout the holiday season and were going to fast on December 16 and New Year’s Eve. The principals of the Des Moines school found out and said whoever did it would be suspended. They still did it and on December 16, Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt wore their armbands to school and were sent home. They did not return to school until after New Year’s day. The students sued the school district for violating their right of expression.The district court dismissed the case and held that the school district's actions were reasonable to uphold school discipline. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the decision without opinion.
  • Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school, as a form of symbolic protest, violate the students' freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment?
  • Court ruled that yes, it did violate their freedom of speech protection. Justice Abe Fortas delivered the opinion of the 7-2 majority. Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they step onto school property.
  • There was a major impact on many lower court rulings in regard to the right of students to express themselves. Because of this they are free to dye their hair and wear nose rings to public schools.
  • "Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District." Oyez. Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, n.d. Dec 20, 2016. <https://www.oyez.org/cases/1968/21> "What Was the Impact of Tinker v. Des Moines?" Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.
  • And that's what happened in Tinker v. Des Moines
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